Who is Kenneth Cole?
American designer, businessman, film producer and social activist Kenneth D. Cole, was born in Brooklyn, New York City USA, on 23 March 1954, making Aries his zodiac sign. He’s known best for founding his own company Kenneth Cole Productions, which manufactures clothing and other products under the labels Unlisted, Reaction Kenneth Cole, and Kenneth Cole New York.
Education and early life
Kenneth was raised in Brooklyn by his Jewish parents Charles Cole and Gladys Douglas; his father was the owner of the shoe manufacturing company El Greco, and his mother was a housewife. Because Kenneth hasn’t spoken of siblings, he’s believed to be an only child.
He was into a number of activities while attending John L. Miller Great Neck North High School, as he played football for the school, ran track, and appeared in a number of school plays. Kenneth matriculated in 1972 and then wanted to pursue a career straight away, however, his parents were able to persuade him to attend college; he thus enrolled at Emory University, from which he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in 1976.
Kenneth wanted to have his line of shoes shown at the New York Shoe Expo held at the hotel New York Hilton in 1982, but didn’t have the money to pay for a showroom or a hotel room. He then learned that utility and production companies were allowed to park trailers two blocks away from the hotel, and he thus changed the name of his company Kenneth Cole Production, Inc. to Kenneth Cole Productions, received a permit to park his trailer, as well as to shoot his feature movie “The Birth of a Shoe Company”, and in three days, Kenneth sold 40,000 pairs of shoes.
The company went public in 1994, and was featured four times on the Forbes annual list ‘200 Best Small Companies’.
Kenneth’s also launched his footwear label Gentle Souls.
He’s published three books: “Footnotes: What You Stand for is More Important Than what You Stand in” on 30 September 2003, “Awareness: Inspiring Stories about How to Make a Difference” on 3 November 2008, and “This Is a Kenneth Cole Production” on 25 September 2013.
Work in the film industry
Kenneth’s received special thanks for five movies, including in 1998 the crime mystery thriller “The Gingerbread Man” and the fantasy comedy “It All Came True”, and the 1999 romantic crime comedy “Mickey Blue Eyes”.
He worked in the wardrobe department on the 1998 episode “Wanda Sykes-Hall” of the documentary comedy series “Comedy Central Presents”, which starred Mike Birbiglia and Todd Barry, and featured a number of actors and comedians performing stand-up comedy. In 2008, he worked in the wardrobe department on the episode “Rashida Jones” of the news talk-show “Rachael Ray”, hosted by Rachael, and which features her and various celebrities sharing their simple solutions to everyday issues.
In 2004, Kenneth produced the short movie “The Way Down”, which starred Breck Wilson and Justin Cudworth, and was written and directed by Justin Francis; it follows a boy who’s found a dead man and $10,000 in poker chips in the Nevada desert. In 2013, he produced the short biographical documentary “The Battle of Amfar”, which starred Richard Berkowitz and Timothy Ray Brown, and was directed by Ron Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman; it follows Elizabeth Taylor and Dr. Mathilde Krim who founded the Foundation for AIDS Research amfAR in the ‘80s; the movie was nominated for a 2013 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for Short Film.
Some of Kenneth’s recent talk-show appearances have been in “Celebrity Page”, “Good Morning America” and “Tamron Hall”.
Wednesday on @TamronHallShow: “Tamron Hall’s” up-and-coming designer series continues! We’ll meet four more designers who, like @tamronhall, have a passion for fashion. Plus, fashion icon @kennethcolereal stops by.#TamronHallShow #LetsTalkAboutIt pic.twitter.com/X7LyLY4yST
— On The Red Carpet (@OnTheRedCarpet) June 14, 2022
Kenneth began supporting AIDS research and awareness in 1985, and is believed to have been the first fashion designer to do so. He’s donated money to a number of non-profit organizations, including Rock the Vote, amfAR, and Mentoring USA, and from 2005 through 2018 was chairman of amfAR; he stepped down because of a controversy surrounding Harvey Weinstein.
He created his own The Kenneth Cole Foundation, and through it in 2001, launched The Kenneth Cole Fellows in Community Building and Social Change Program.
On 3 February 2011, during the Egyptian revolution, Kenneth tweeted that the protests were there because they had all heard about his new spring collection which was available online; after having been criticized for the tweet, Kenneth took it down.
Love life and marriage
Kenneth prefers to keep the details about his love life away from media, and thus not a lot about it is known.
His other half is American non-celebrity Maria Cuomo, who’s perhaps known best for being the sister of American journalist and TV anchor Chris Cuomo and American politician and lawyer Andrew Mark Cuomo, as well as for being the daughter of former Governor of New York Mario Cuomo.
Kenneth and Maria exchanged vows on 11 October 1987, and they have three daughters together: Catie, Amanda and Emily; the girls’ birthdates haven’t been disclosed.
There are no other women whom Kenneth’s possibly been with, that we know about; he’s married to Maria Cuomo as of July 2023, and they have three daughters together.
Interesting facts and hobbies
More than 180,000 people are following Kenneth on Instagram today, and he’s posted over 5,600 pictures and videos onto the network; most of his content features his clothes and shoes. He’s also highly active on Twitter; he launched his account in May 2012 and has since tweeted over 16,000 times – often about politics – and is today followed by close to 200,000 people.
In 2008, Kenneth and his wife bought a co-op in New York City’s Sutton Place for $14.5 million; the two are today living on their estate in Purchase, New York State.
“People Magazine” voted Kenneth ‘Sexiest Businessman of the Year’ in 1998.
He was presented with a Theodore Roosevelt Corporate Award by The Legal Aid Society of New York City on 14 May 2009.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Child Mind presented Cole with a Suicide Prevention Champion Award in 2022.
Martin Sheen’s one of Kenneth’s favorite actors, and some of his favorite movies include “12 Mighty Orphans”, “Spawn” and “The Final Countdown”.
Height, eyes and wealth
Kenneth’s age is 69. He has brown eyes and grey hair, is 5ft 1in (1.55m) tall and weighs around 130lbs (60kgs).
Kenneth’s net worth’s been estimated at over $100 million, as of July 2023.